Born to Read – Help Us Change the Story for Our Poorest Children

Books and stories have always been a huge part of my parenting, if I achieved nothing else for my children I wanted to give them the gift of reading. I wanted them to be able to escape to other worlds, I wanted to give them the key to imagination, knowledge and understanding and to equip them with the skills to open whichever of life’s doors they fancied.

reading with babies

As a teacher many of my most rewarding moments were reading related. My first teaching post was in a junior school in East Bristol with a very varied catchment. Making a reading breakthrough with a child and seeing the wonder in their eyes as they realised they could decode those spiky black symbols and unlock a story was just the best feeling. Sending them on to secondary school as confident readers meant they were equipped to access the full curriculum and those doors to the future would be open to them.

learning to read

But there are, unfortunately, some children who don’t get that chance to  break through into the world of reading and who are then always playing a demoralising game of catch up. Children who are not surrounded by books at home through no fault of their own or their families, children who need more support and encouragement than can possibly be made time for just at school.

reading together

That’s why I’m jumping on board with an exciting new campaign launched today by Save the Children to coincide with Children’s Book Week. Save has published a report ‘Too Young To Fail’ which reveals that:

  •  Many poor children in the UK today start school already behind their better-off peers – through no fault of their own.
  • Last year, 1 in 4 poor children left primary school without basic skills in reading and writing.
  • By the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined
  • The first two years a child is at school is a crucial window during which to close the attainment gap. Reading is one of the keys to unlocking a child’s potential.
  • If they don’t get the help they need before they leave primary school, another generation of children will face lifelong penalties for being born poor.

children reading together

What are Save the Children proposing to do about it?

Save the Children is today launching a nationwide “Born to Read” programme– in partnership with Beanstalk – to get 23,000 children across the UK reading over the next four years. Save plans to do this by aiming to recruit 20,000 ‘change makers’ who will help reach children in their first chapters of life, giving them a better chance of fulfilling their potential.

It is also expanding its hugely successful parenting programme – FAST – to more deprived areas of the country to give parents the tools they need to help their children get the best out of their education as well as calling on the government to invest in children’s futures and the future of the country as a whole.

reading how to be a pirate

What Can We Do To Help?

As a teacher and a Mum I can’t stand back and wash my hands of these children, we have a societal and community responsibility to help every child get a good start. It is too easy to stand back and tut, to expect someone else to do it, to draw up the family drawbridge with an ‘I’m all right Jack’, that is why I’m signing up as a Change Maker and why I’m asking you to do the same.

Save the Children is building a movement of supporters to change the story for children in the UK. Being a ‘change maker’ is a journey that will include a variety of actions that supporters can choose to take to help make a difference.
You might be:
A Campaigner: campaigning with Save the Children to make changes right at the top; to get manifesto commitments from all political parties before the 2015 election to ensure that every child leaves primary school with a good education including being a confident reader and campaigning to get the government to invest in children NOW by allocating an additional £1000 fair chances premium for children aged 5, 6 and 7 who are falling behind and to triple the pupil premium for every eligible primary pupil by 2020.
A Volunteer: Volunteering with Save the Children’s programmes, working face to face with children to help them to catch up if they are struggling with reading, help them to grow in confidence and improve their chances of success in school. As Save the Children’s programmes grow, they will be offering opportunities to volunteer to support in targeted areas.
A Fundraiser: Fundraising to help Save the Children to expand their programmes to reach more children in schools right across the UK, giving them a better start.
born to read

Can you sign up as a Change Maker today and begin that journey to change the future for poor children in the UK? We are!

family reading

If you’ve enjoyed our reading story and  feel inspired by this post could you post a picture of you and your family with your favourite books either in a blog post, on facebook, Twitter, Google + or Instagram and ask more people to join us on this journey to even the playing field for the UK’s poorest children?
Could you share this post with family, friends and followers and ask them to help give all children a fair chance? (Clicky Click on those sharing buttons at the bottom of this piece 😉 ) Follow the story on Twitter with the hashtag #EducationMatters and @savechildrenUK and @saveUKNews.
This is just the beginning. Will you walk with us, shoulder to shoulder with the UK’s children, unlocking the doors to the future, improving their life chances? Will you be a change maker?
I have taken on an exciting new role as Freelance Community Liaison Officer for Save the Children which means I am working with UK bloggers on various campaigns including this one. If you would like to be further involved please email me at and keep an eye out for updates on this blog, Twitter, Facebook and G+
You can read posts by other lovely bloggers supporting Save the Children today here:



  1. Great campaign, I will spread the word. I am a volunteer on the management committee of a preschool and where we see the gap is in the spoken language that young children have, which then goes on to impact on their reading.

    • Thank you so much Sue, great to have you on board!

  2. This is a brilliant campaign and it’s great to focus on disadvantaged children in this country. I always helped with reading at school when my children were in KS1 and saw what a difference it made.

    • Thank you! I’ve helped in school too and it really doesn’t take much to start to make a difference does it?

  3. Great campaign, I will share the post x

    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support!

  4. Great initiative! Will endeavour to get involved, off to share now for starters!

    • You are a star, you are top of my *poke until she gets on board* list :-)

  5. Such fab photos. Great campaign

    • Thank you Becky and for your marvellous post too! :-)

  6. I can totally relate to how you feel as a teacher. I love nothing more than sharing my love of books and stories with my classes. L has an extensive library because of all the books I brought to share with my classes. Reading volunteers in the classroom is such a simple first step to help these children at risk from such a young age.

    Shared on twitter. Xxx

    • Time spent with an adult sharing a book is so precious to children, simple but true! Thanks for sharing :-) x

  7. It’s a wonderful thing that you’re doing – glad to be involved x

    • So glad you are! :-)

  8. Great initiative and inspiring post!
    If I lived in the UK I’ll hop aboard as a volunteer. As I teacher, I see the difference family background makes for reading, and the difference reading make for learning, every day. I wish we had an initiative like this in Denmark!

  9. This is such an awesome initiative – have shared your post on Twitter.

  10. Such a powerful post and such shocking statistics. Many schools do what they can to close the gap, but it sounds like much of the damage is done very early on in a child’s life. I couldn’t imagine a life for me and the kids without reading.

  11. Sounds like a great campaign. Here in Southend the council is closing many of the local libraries and because the ‘posher’ area has a big campaign behind keeping it open it looks like this may happen,unfortunately meaning a library in a deprived area will close instead. Understandably, this is driving me slightly mad…

  12. Reading is mine, Hubs’s and my children’s life, I can’t imagine not being able to enjoy this pleasure. I’ll be blogging about this and sharing as far and wide as I can.

    • Thank you SO much :-) x



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